Throughout the month of August restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, will be participating in the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme. Each Monday to Wednesday, customers will automatically receive a 50% discount with food and soft drinks ordered, up to £10 per person.
It has been well documented that the hospitality sector has been deeply affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Although 54% of operators have now resumed trading, reduced covers combined with consumer nervousness to return, conditions are harder than ever.
The Eat Out to Help Out campaign is designed to help rebuild consumer confidence in the sector while also helping operators drive sales during typically quieter periods.
HOW THE SCHEME WORKS FOR OPERATORS
Any operator who sells food, for immediate on-premises consumption, can take part in this scheme, and the scheme can be used in conjunction with other government initiatives such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
To register, the business must have been registered with its local authority on or before 7th July 2020 and must have an eat-in function. Note this scheme is not applicable to takeaway orders. Further guidance around how to register, as well as the link to complete registration, can be found here.
One of the biggest questions we’ve heard from operators is around claiming reimbursement. Claims should be submitted weekly, with the first open claim date of 7th August and only if the business is already registered for the scheme. To claim, the following information is required:
– Total number of covers who have used the scheme including children
– Total amount of discount given
– Period the claim relates to
Once a claim has been submitted, a claim reference number will be generated. HMRC will check the claim is correct, and the claim amount will be paid by BACS into the registered bank account within five working days. Further guidance can be found here.
TOP TIPS FOR OPERATORS
We’ve collated some handy tips for operators, to make the most out of this opportunity:
– First and foremost, ensure you are registered for the scheme! This scheme is designed to help to drive business during typically quieter trading periods while also building customer confidence that it is safe to eat out
– Once you have signed up, ensure you are communicating to your customers that you are taking part in the scheme. As well as social media posts and physical on-site signage, it’s worth considering sending a newsletter to your audience as well as outreaching to press
– If you are able, consider special menus and additions you can offer to make this offer even more compelling. Do you have a dish that is a firm favourite with customers? Perhaps you could offer this at a special price to maximise the customer saving. Do you have a beautiful outside space? Perhaps consider offering a free drink on arrival to be enjoyed before a meal. As well as being a further value add for customers, anything you do above and beyond the government discount will provide you with further marketing opportunities
– Ensure you continue to push health and safety messaging. It is as important as ever to reassure customers that they are safe visiting your premises
HOW THE SCHEME WORKS FOR CUSTOMERS
There is no limit to how many times customers can take advantage of this scheme. Customers merely need to visit the participating restaurant of their choice at any time on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday throughout August and the discount will be automatically added to their bill. Advance booking of tables is recommended, and with some restaurants it is essential.
The government has created a postcode checker, for customers to be able to see locally participating restaurants. This can be found here.
To find out how our approach can help you - drop us a line on 020 3651 5000 or send us the form below with some basic information and we’ll be in touch to discuss the finer details.